Thursday, January 14, 2010

U of I Extension News

Fruit growers seek niche markets
Parma--They’re a Peach of a crop, Parma R&E research findsIDAHO ORCHARDISTS seeking crops for narrow market time-slots and are keeping close tabs on a 50-variety peach and nectarine trial at the University of Idaho’s Parma Research and Extension Center.

“Our growers want the option to fill the market at different times,” says Essie Fallahi, the university’s fruit tree physiologist. That lets them schedule their peach and nectarine harvests around harvests of their other crops—and to aim for a moving target of days or weeks when California and Washington fruit growers are temporarily low on production.

Under Treasure Valley growing conditions, Fallahi is evaluating yellow-fleshed peaches like ‘Zee Lady’ and white-fleshed peaches like ‘Snow Giant’ as well as both yellow- and white-fleshed nectarines. When he’s sufficiently tempted by Fallahi’s results, Canyon County fruit grower Roger Williamson plants new varieties in the family’s orchards. “You’re talking about a 3-year selection process, and you’re going to live with that selection for 15 years, so you need to know as much as you can,” Williamson says.

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